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IRN Start Date: April 1, 2017

The International Research Network (IRN) will cover a broad range of research activities around the effectiveness of Financial Education and Life Skills Education. As there is currently a lack of systematic research on the effectiveness of Financial Education and Life Skills Education on a global level, this IRN will synthesize research to understand in which contexts which types of education are effective, for which target groups, and how programs and education systems can be improved.


The IRN will cover research in both non-formal and formal education settings. The latter are programs implemented by NGOs, and implementation on a national scale by ministries. The focus of the research will be on education provided to children between 3 and 18, in lower-and middle income countries.


The IRN will draw upon expertise of researchers from different regional backgrounds and thematic expertise, covering Latin-America and North America, (Central, South and South-East) Asia, Africa, and Europe, as well as experts in the field of education, evaluation and training, data analysis and policy research and advise. The participants in the proposed list will actively contribute to the deliverables of this IRN, and will serve as a quality mechanism. The participants have in common that they have all contributed to the debate on life skills education, financial literacy, and/or quality education. Some of them have extensive experience in the specific area of Life Skills and Financial Education research. Their multi-cultural origins enhance a shared cross-cultural understanding of the topic which will benefit the research undertaken within the framework of the IRN and beyond. As most of the participants have conducted research in several countries, and are experienced in teamwork in virtual spaces, we are confident that communication will be effective. Communication channels will mainly be email, conference calls, more informal skype calls, and meetings in person where possible, e.g. at conferences. Sharing content will be done in virtual clouds as well, e.g. Dropbox.


The primary objective is to determine where, how, and for whom Life Skills and Financial Education should be included in children’s education. Given the limited space and competing needs of educational programs and curricula, different combinations of life skills education, financial education, other elements, or none of these may be recommended. We plan to contribute by producing a synthesis State of the Art report in 2017 that elaborates on this topic. We aim to enhance dissemination of our products to a broad audience (i.e. practitioners, policy makers, and of course researchers) and identify clear research directions for the future.


Next to producing a State of the Art report, we aim to fill research gaps. Summarized, the Life Skills and Financial Education IRN is hoping to address the following areas:

  • The effectiveness of Life Skills and Financial Education at scale, e.g. when integrated in national education curricula and implemented by national bodies;

  • The effectiveness of Life Skills and Financial Education for the most vulnerable children, e.g. in non-formal education settings;

  • The influence of Life Skills and Financial Education and active learning methods on other subjects in school;

  • The long term impact of Life Skills and Financial Education.


At least for some of these areas, additional data collection is necessary. Based on opportunities available, we are hoping to address these key gaps in the next years. Regarding longitudinal research more specifically, which is strongly subject to funding opportunities, the IRN needs at least 3 years.



Aukje te Kaat

Research Manager

Aflatoun International


List of Participants 

  • Prof Matthew Bird Professor, Graduate School, Universidad del Pacífico

  • Dr. Anne Ellersiek Research, Senior Researcher German Foundation for Science and Politics and Senior Fellow, UNRISD

  • Prof. Andreas Hein, Researcher and Deputy Director of Research @ Pontificia Catholic University Chile

  • Alejandra Hidalgo, Research Assistant, Centro de Investigación, Universidad del Pacífico

  • Aukje te Kaat, Research Manager, Aflatoun International

  • Dr. Leyla Karimli, Postdoctoral Scholar, McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, NYU

  • Breki Karlsson, Founder and Director General of the Institute for Financial Literacy in Iceland

  • Prof. Dr. Robert Lensink, Research Director, CIBIF

  • Andrew Magunda, Research Consultant Sub Sahara Africa, Results Co. and Director, Careerpath

  • Lachhrindra Maharjan, Social and Financial Research Coordinator for Asia, and Chairperson, Network for Social Work Management, Nepal Chapter, Kathmandu

  • Dr. Johannes Meuer, Sr. Researcher at ETH, Zurich

  • Maria Claudia Peñaranda, Research Assistant, Graduate School, Universidad del Pacífico

  • Daniel Shepherd, Director, IS-CS Group

  • Suthinee Supanantaroek, PhD candidate, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

  • Dr. Joanne Yoong, Associate Professor National University of Singapore & Director USC Center for Economic and Social Research-East


Based on experience and regional balance, interested and emerging scholars are welcome to join this IRN, as long as this is in accordance with WERA’s policy. We believe we need to be relatively flexible and accept enthusiastic members and emerging scholars to engage. In terms of leadership, Aukje te Kaat will act as a convener and will coordinate efforts and activities around this IRN.



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